The Indonesian Agricultural Quarantine Agency (IAQA) has announced US apples can now be imported into the South East Asian nation under normal conditions.
IAQA imposed stricter testing on imports of US fresh apples after a listeria outbreak in the US earlier in the year was traced to two specific apple varieties from a particular apple packhouse in California.
In a letter sent to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) on 21 April, IAQA said shipments would be inspected under the same protocols as before the listeria outbreak, with additional health certificates required alongside the standard phytosanitary certificates.
The restrictions on fresh apple imports from the US came as the country was sitting on a record apple crop, with sales of imported apples dropping in Indonesia in the weeks following the news of the outbreak.
Though the import requirements have returned to normal, Federick Sek of Jakarta-based importer Central Lucky told Fruitnet that sales are still being affected.
"Sales are still erratic due to customers' concerns. We hope that in a month, when the new shipments arrive, sales will return to the old statistics again," Sek said, adding that a potential issue in coming months could be oversupply. The Indonesian government requires importers to fulfil 80 per cent of their approved import quota or face a possible loss of their import permits.
"Importers here will have a lot of unused quotas for these apples and we will all likely be importing them at the same time and with big quantity to fulfill our 80 per cent quota requirements," Sek explained.